Monday, October 31, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Bill Murray reads Poems to Construction Workers at Poets House



I can't believe I went to Battery Park in New York only months before they opened an all-new Poets House. I missed it: a house dedicated to poets and poetry with a collection of over 50,000 volumes — including books, journals, chapbooks, audio and video tapes, and digital media.

Before it moved to Battery Park in 2009, Poets House was in a loft in Soho for 24 years, a self-proclaimed home for all who read and write poetry.

Bill Murray, it seems, is one of those. Here he is reading poems to the construction workers on the Poets House site back in May 2009 when it was nearly finished. Watch their faces when he reads the Emily Dickinson poem (find it at 2'38 on the movie) I Dwell in Possibility! And they applaud him when he finishes! It starts like this:

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Another poem Murray reads is Poets Work by Lorine Niedecker (at 1'47) which starts 'Grandfather/ advised me:/ learn a trade...'  and can be read here - it's brilliant and short, although it would have worked better for a bunch of poets than builders.

My son has just started a building apprenticeship after four years of on-again-off-again work and bouts of unemployment. He's all signed up. Those two sentences, now that's poetry. 


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Postscript
Just discovered a video of the Poets House dedication in 2009 with poems and song. More Bill Murray! And a terrific poem by Kay Ryan 'Lighthouse Keeping' at 2'13, which can be read on the page here.

6 comments:

Elizabeth Welsh said...

This is incredible, Mary. What a treasure trove! It makes one HAVE to go to New York, yes? The 'learn to condense' from the Niedecker poem really strikes a chord with me.

Melissa Green said...

Oh, Mary, Mary, this is simply stellar! Who knew that this hilarious Bill Murray would be a lover of poetry? And how moving to hear all the poets read in such joy to celebrate the building of Poets House, a place where all are welcome, and all poets can find a place to live and work. Bravo, Poets House! Thank you, Mary!

Mary McCallum said...

Isn't it Melissa and Elizabeth? I have been excited about it since I found the video. A Poets House. Unbelievable. Immense. And I am still thinking about the faces of the construction workers while the Dickinson poem is being read. You can see the words are weaving threads around them, making their magic. Understanding is not what it's about, just BEING in the LANGUAGE and the VOICE and grasping something that says in a small voice 'you' 'this world' 'now'. Bliss.

Helen Lowe said...

Awesome, Mary! How amazing to think that there's a whole house dedicated to poetry.

T. Clear said...

Wow -- this is so much preferable to mindless television viewing. Thank-you, Mary! Thank-you Tuesday Poem!!

susan t. landry said...

thanks for this, mary...i am belated to visit; coincidentally, just posted a follow-up on lorine neidecker! remember when i posted her on TP last june?

good stuff....